'London-by-the-Sea' it may well be, but Brighton has more than enough personality of its own to set it apart from the capital. This seaside city's proximity to London and easy train links may have made it something of a haven for city dwellers looking to finally escape the rat race, but that hasn't made it any less attractive and charming. The sea-side city has enough character for two cities at least and promises life and vitality around almost every corner.
For those looking for a history lesson, Brighton didn't become the beachside beacon of bohemianism and bonhomie that we know now until fairly recently, but it did get the royal seal of approval way back in the 1780s, when the iconic Royal Pavilion was built by the Prince Regent as a seaside pleasure palace. Easily one of the most lavishly designed and appointed buildings in England when it was built, the Brighton Pavilion can still draw gasps of surprise when visitors first spy its tipped onion domes and wedding cake style facade. Take a peek inside and you'll be treated to a dragon themed banqueting hall which is utterly unique. In the nearby music room the ceiling is covered in golden 'scales', while elsewhere you'll find evidence of 19th century chinoiserie. The gardens are also a lovely place to take a walk and get a breath of fresh air.
Another great area of Brighton in which to take a walk and get a lungful of fresh air is of course, the beach. This lovely stretch of water is incredibly popular, especially in the summer months when if you're lucky, England's south coast is blessed with warm weather and summer sun. But even in less clement weather, Brighton's shore holds sway. Not only can you huddle up on the pebbles with a portion of fish and chips to keep you warm, but you can also head to the famous Palace Pier, the pleasure pier built in 1899 that is full of arcade games, fairground rides, restaurants and great views from scattered deck chairs.
If your passions run more toward retail therapy, then Brighton is a place that gives you all of the usual suspects and a whole lot more. Not only does it have most of the major high street brands you would expect, the Lanes also plays host to some seriously cool shops, cafes, restaurants and bars. This cobble stoned pedestrianised area is the place to be seen on the weekends, when bargain hunters come out in force in the hope of nabbing a vintage gem at one of the many cool and trendy establishments.
Brighton is also home to some of the country's best nightlife. Club hopping is practically a local sport here and you certainly won't be short of places to drink and dance if that's your thing.